The 10 Best Self Defense Sprays

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This wiki has been updated 13 times since it was first published in January of 2020. Defense sprays provide powerful yet nonlethal protection against assailants of all sizes. They are low cost, lightweight, and legal to own in every state, not to mention easy to operate and conceal. However, be advised that even if the spray you choose is not likely to cause lasting injury, it can certainly harm you and other bystanders if used inappropriately, so be sure to practice first. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Sabre Smart

2. Vexor Professional

3. Sabre Red Keychain

Editor's Notes

March 24, 2021:

Believing that the last editor for this page put together a nice mix of options – from the unassuming Sabre Red for Runners, which is suitable for cautious joggers, to the Mace Brand Pepper Gun, which looks ready to regulate a riot – there wasn’t a whole lot for us to do during this round of updates, but we did find a few places to brush up on things.

To begin with, we eliminated the Mace Brand Strobe Gun, which, apart from appearing to basically be a less intimidating version of the Mace Brand Pepper Gun, also wasn’t available at the time of this update’s publication. We also decided on doing away with the Mace Brand Mini KeyGuard, believing that one keychain model was enough for our list, and favoring the Sabre Red Keychain, which is capable of letting off 25 bursts, compared to the Mini Keyguard’s six.

The Vexor Professional caught our eye with its 20-foot maximum range, which is notably further than many models in the category. It should be noted that some users have described this claim as an exaggeration, so don’t bank on sizing up your would-be mugger from 19.5 feet away, but even if it does fall a bit short of its stated claim, it’s still a competitively priced option (especially if you’re willing to splurge on a pack of three or, better yet, six), and one that’s equipped with nice conveniences like a belt clip and flip top for safety.

The Sabre Smart quickly became the most technologically advanced option on our list, boasting Bluetooth connectivity so it can trigger your smartphone to notify contacts of your choice, via SMS, when the canister is deployed. The message sent will provide recipients with a link to a map with your location pinned on it, and this feature is free, but a premium service is also available for those who are interested in additional GPS monitoring.

The last editor for this list did a good job of addressing the safety issues associated with these sprays in the February 23, 2020 editor’s note for this page, so I’m going to forgo dragging you through all that again, trusting that you’re making this purchase with responsible intentions. However, I will suggest that if you’re looking at making this investment to protect yourself from large, dangerous wildlife, then perhaps you should consider upping the ante and checking out our list of bear sprays.

February 23, 2020:

There is a lot that can go wrong with defense sprays, but that should not keep you from purchasing them. In addition to carefully reading and following any instructions, guidelines, and warnings that come along with anything you purchase, particularly defense sprays, please consider the following safety advice.

First, you should test your defense spray, and only do so outdoors, in a discrete, less unpopulated area. The last thing you want is to end up in a situation where you really need the spray to work, and for some reason, it doesn’t. With gun-like and other refillable models, you might even be able to use practice rounds, but chances are you’ll be using an active spray capable of harming living things. While testing, you should keep an abundance of safety considerations in mind. For starters, wear gloves and safety goggles if possible. Next, while it may sound obvious, be sure to aim your spray away from yourself, arm fully extended, and—this might be the most important part of all— point it downward, keeping it very close to the ground, but not so close that it might splash back. In addition to this, be sure to test somewhere where children, pets, critters, and passersby won’t come upon potential rogue clouds of spray or the mess you leave when you’re finished. Moving on, clean that mess up as thoroughly as possible. Finally, clean yourself and personal affects up as thoroughly as possible, including the defense spray system itself.

Second, if you’re going to carry defense spray around, you might consider having an antidote on hand to administer on yourself or anyone else you do not intend to incapacitate, if things don’t go as well as hoped for. You can buy defense spray relievers online and elsewhere or craft your own at home after making very sure you are following legitimate instructions disseminated by true authorities.

Third, don’t forget that the contents of your defense spray are under pressure. This being the case, do everything you can to avoid crushing, throwing, puncturing, etc. your selection and never expose it to extreme heat or cold.

Fourth, if you have children and pets, make sure they never get a hold of it. Ever. Lock it up, do what you have to, just make sure it is out of their reach.

Fifth, keep an eye on your unit for any leakage, and make sure to dispose of it properly if it seems flawed or reaches its expiration date.

Finally, I’m sure there’s more that can wrong, so please, please do your research. Before purchasing defense sprays you should definitely review what laws apply to their regulation in your state and/or region. Although they are ultimately legal, they can’t be mailed just anywhere, and their use is sometimes restricted. I will not go into specifics here—because I am not a lawyer, laws can change, and so on—but you really should look into legalities before settling on any sort of self-defense solution, nonlethal spray or otherwise.

A couple years ago my wife and I had a situation that left us looking for nonlethal defense options. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had known about models like the Mace Brand Pepper Gun, Mace Brand Strobe Gun, and Kimber Pepper Blaster, because aim was always my top concern. The last thing you want to do is miss an assailant and get them indignant in addition to whatever else they’re feeling at that dark moment. Meanwhile, my wife still has issues just walking to the store across street in our neighborhood, and I can imagine her being quite happy with the models that are ready-to-go like the Sabre Red for Runners and Sabre Red Keychain. No matter what you end up choosing, get imaginative, be prepared, and really think about how things might go down in the real world when defending yourself. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.

Special Honors

Pepper Spray Store The Pepper Spray Store is a website where you can find even more defense spray options and accessories. More importantly, it has an abundance of relevant articles in its archives, several of which involve antidotes and first aid tips you can put to use if you end up on the wrong end of a crippling stream of irritant.

Army Surplus World If your self-defence spray is part of your everyday-carry kit, then you may as well make it look good. This company has several styles of pouch to choose from, for those who like to wear their canister on their waist, as well as another option available in three colors that's compatible with MOLLE systems.

4. Sabre Advanced 3-in-1

5. Sabre Tactical Gel

6. Mace Brand Pepper Gun

7. Sabre Red for Runners

8. POM Pocket Clip

9. Mace Brand Flip n' Grip

10. Kimber Pepper Blaster

Will Rhoda
Last updated by Will Rhoda

After deciding that the pen was mightier than the pliers, Canadian electrical contractor William Rhoda abandoned his career and headed back to college, where he majored in marketing and advertising and won a scholarship along the way to earning a diploma in creative communications. His past career landed him a depth of knowledge in tools and hardware, while his current career schooled him in audio, video and camera equipment. During his leisure time, he’s learned lots about outdoor gear, and years of tiresome backyard maintenance have taught him all about pools and hot tubs. His recreational pursuits include rest, relaxation and revolutionary action, and his roommate’s a hairless cat.

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